Gleanings from Biographies (part three)

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They had a Commitment to Biblical Truth

All godly men are committed to biblical truth, even at great loss to themselves, this has been true from our own day all the way back to the prophets who were uncompromising though it meant their lives. This is also true of the men we are looking at here. Lloyd-Jones said, “They can heap all the personal abuse they like on me, it will make no difference, but I will not tolerate any misrepresentation of the truth.”[1] This is also, what we see in Spurgeon through his stance with the Baptist Union and Edwards with his stance on communion. Both of these men did have personal abuse heaped upon them yet they, like Lloyd-Jones, would not tolerate anything less than the truth.

Edwards came to believe that the church that he pastored in Northampton practiced the Lord’s Supper unbiblically so he sought to reform the churches practice. Even at great cost Edwards stuck to his biblical convictions. Edwards wrote that his “very subsistence” depended upon his defense of his conviction from Scripture on the communion controversy.[2] It is said that “The key to an understanding of Jonathan Edwards is that he was a man who put faithfulness to the Word of God before every other consideration.”[3] “Herein lies Edwards’ enduring strength. He was not an originator”[4] but sought to be faithful to Scripture.

Likewise, Spurgeon earnestly contended for the faith in what has been known as the “The Down-Grade Controversy” which started from an article he published in The Sword the Trowel.[5]  In this, he suffered much “because of his faithful testimony for the truth.”[6] Lloyd-Jones himself was many-times excluded from the broader (so-called) evangelical scene because he stuck to his biblical convictions.

However, these men did not just contend for biblical truth they also exuded biblical truth in their everyday lives. It is said that, “the knowledge of the Scriptures which” Lloyd-Jones “revealed was truly amazing; he seemed to know not only chapter and verse of every quotation made, but the exact context, and the precise meaning of every phase.”[7] It was said that you could not hear Lloyd-Jones preach for three minutes without realizing that he believed that God is speaking in His Word.”[8]

One visitor came to Lloyd-Jones’ church after spending a year in a liberal theological college in Switzerland and said,

There was such an awareness of God in the church, and in hearing someone speak from the Word of God as though he believed it, was so overwhelming after studying in a liberal theological college that the tears ran down my cheeks. It reminded me of the fruitfulness of an evangelical ministry which a liberal theology can never have.[9]

If you have ever read a sermon by Spurgeon you know that biblical truth poured out of him. In fact, he told his students “in order to impress the Word upon those to whom you preach, remember that it must be impressed upon yourself first. You must feel it yourself and speak as a person who feels  it—not as if you feel it, but because you feel it.”[10] Spurgeon certainly had the truth impressed upon himself and it showed.

All these men certainly demonstrated the truth of the first Psalm. They meditated on the Word of God day and night and that practice bore great fruit in their lives which in turn has led to great blessing in our own lives even today.  It must be remembered that these men, like in the Shema, had the Word of the LORD ever before them because He truly is the Lord of all. These men loved the Word because of their love for the Lord. James M. Hamilton Jr. helps us here:

Whole-life love for Yahweh will result in his commandments being on the heart, but this relationship cannot be the reverse either. Devotion to the commandments divorced from love for Yahweh also breaks the first commandment, leading only to a condemning sense of onerous duty, These laws can only be fulfilled by those who are dominated by the reality that Yahweh alone is God, consumed with a love for him that finds expression in desire to please him, commitment to obeying him, and the constant occupation of mind, heart, and imagination with the wonder of who he is. In short, only those who live to worship him—those who trust him more than what they see with their eyes—will have the law on their hearts.[11]

[1] Murray, The First Forty Years, 83.

[2]Murray, Jonathon Edwards: A New Biography, 319.

[3] Murray, Edwards, 71.

[4] Ibid.,  468.

[5] See Dallimore, Spurgeon: A New Biography, ch. 19.

[6] Murray, Edwards,354.

[7] Murray, The Fight of Faith, 174.

[8] Ibid., 330.

[9] Ibid.,  337.

[10]H. Spurgeon, The Soul Winner, (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1995),  92.

[11] James M. Hamilton Jr., “That the Coming Generation Might Praise the Lord,” Journal of Family Ministry 1.1 (2010): 18.